Manchester Storm appoint Canadian Mike Flanagan as new Head Coach

  • Granada Reports Sports Correspondent David Chisnall caught up with new Manchester Storm head coach Mike Flanagan

Manchester Storm have announced their new head coach - Canadian Mike Flanagan.

The 55-year-old returns to the UK for the first time since the 90s after playing and coaching across North American and Europe.

He replaces his former player Matt Ginn who left Storm at the end of the season.

Flanagan spent most of his playing career in North America. He spent two seasons in England, playing for the Slough Jets between 1995 and 1996, and then the following season for the Telford Tigers.

Most recently he has been head coach at EK Zell am See in the Alps Hockey League, in Austria.

The coach said he was excited about what his tenure could bring, but he was not trying to get ahead of himself.

"I think for us we don't want to run before we can walk," he said, "but we certainly want to be a playoff team and maybe challenge for a trophy here that I don't know.

"The Challenge Cup or something and make the playoffs and then we can see what happens there.

"But just having some on ice success would be good this year and continuing what the club did last year.

"They finished in fourth place and who knows if we can continue that success this year, that would be fantastic but as long as we make the playoffs and we're competitive, anything can happen."

Matt Ginn with Manchester Storm teammates Credit: Manchester Storm

Flanagan added he remembered Storm from when he played in the UK league.

"As a player, I remember that they were playing downtown at the big rink and it was called the Nynex Arena at the time," he said.

"When I think back to those days, Manchester was, to my eyes, a big club.

"Obviously now they're not playing downtown, they're playing Altrincham so it's a little different now, but I just feel like the club is trending in the right way.

"They're having some success on the ice and they do fairly well with their attendance, with the facility that they have."

The Canadian said the job is one he has wanted for a while, and was grateful the "timings just seemed to be really perfect".

"I've talked to Ryan [Finnerty, Manchester Storm co-owner] several times over the last few years when I was coaching elsewhere, just about players and networking and I was looking for a change and for a different opportunity and this one presented itself," he added.

"The timing just seemed to be really perfect. He was looking for a coach, I was looking for a team, and it just felt good."